US No More Shy of Violating Human Rights

US No More Shy of Violating Human Rights
Wed Mar 22, 2017 22:36:03

In the United States, tolerance of intolerance continues to enable state-sanctioned oppression, prejudice has plunged the nation into a world of fear and hate, and calling for an end to Islamohobia is being treated as a punishable offense.

That’s no way to live. The US government has just failed to show up to a human rights hearing on Tuesday, March 21, in an unprecedented show of disrespect to the international community. The government was expected to send representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the State Department. Instead, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says the Trump administration ditched the hearing with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an arm of the Organization of American States, where the ACLU had planned to drill officials on the Trump administration's crackdown on immigration and its ban on travelers and refugees from six Muslim countries, among other issues.

The civil rights group had filed an emergency request for the meeting, after President Donald Trump signed an executive order that banned travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. That order, as well as its follow-up mandate, issued last month, have since been suspended. Still, that hasn’t stopped the Trump White House from going back to the same policies and the same practices that drove the United States into a ditch, that punished Muslim immigrants and refugees permanently, and that led the US to this human rights catastrophe, this new low.

That's the minute bigotry wins. It’s an unprecedented show of disrespect to the international community that has even alienated European allies. It mirrors the behavior of authoritarian regimes and is not only an assault on human rights at home but is also a deliberate attempt to prolong the on-going War on Islam on the pretext of fighting terror and undermine international bodies charged with holding abusive governments accountable.

In one sense, this is an authoritarian regime that is also complicit in gross human rights abuses by international partners and occupying regimes. This has rested in significant part on the shoulders of a colonial policy that allows US military aid to regimes that commit human rights violations and abuses with impunity. No accountability and prevention here:

- The US government provides training and weapons to foreign military and occupying forces who commit the worst crimes. Even European allies acknowledge that is not acceptable.

- The regimes that commit such crimes are never prosecuted and punished.

- The US government is treating them as if they were above the law and didn’t have to answer to the law.  

- The US government supports partners who invade and occupy, who violate the personal integrity, dignity, or due process of their citizens. 

- The US government makes clear that foreign military commanders who order gross violations of human rights - or try to cover them up – can still receive US support. 

- The US government makes clear that those who invade and occupy, who torture and mass-murder civilians, and who act for reasons of political expedience, can receive US diplomatic support at the United Nations.

Here, the American Law or foreign policy is never punitive, as it should be, for autocratic regimes and partners in crime. Today, however, our problem is with the United States and its Muslim ban. The larger purpose is never about national security, nor is it about building professional, disciplined, transparent, and accountable border security forces who are sustainable and effective partners for world peace and security. We know that countering terrorism and building international support for combating human trafficking or other transnational crimes is not just about banning and arresting Muslim immigrants and refugees either.

It requires security forces that enjoy the public’s trust, confidence and support that come from respecting the rule of International Law. It means the Trump administration adheres to appropriate limits on state power, by accepting oversight and accountability. It also means giving human rights groups, local communities and civil society a voice in the oversight of the border security policy that protects and serves them – and ultimately showing up to their human rights hearing.

Far from it. The decision by the Trump officials not to show up to the Tuesday hearing with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is a reminder of what has happened to the United States and its own values and commitments. By banning Muslims and refugees, the Trump officials are committing some of the same reprehensible crimes as ISIL and Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, using executive orders and diplomatic weapons. They are credibly linked to the terrorist groups’ atrocities by not allowing Syrian war refugees in. The no-show is not temporary. Human Rights Watch has just released its annual report on threats to human rights around the world, and for the first time in the 27 years it has done these surveys, the United States is one of the biggest.

It’s a sign of what's to come. The Muslim ban executive order is being applied more effectively today than when Trump first signed it.  It remains a work in progress, and our discussions here are part of that process. But we are confident that the ban is here to stay. This is because human rights never directs America’s path, and because more and more people recognize that it is less about ending the bogus War on Terror and more about pointing fingers at the war’s main victims to avoid partnership with them in the real war against terrorism and extremism.

That is not acceptable to the American people; it is not acceptable to the Muslim world; and it should not be acceptable to the international civil society, FNA reported.

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